EPA Proposes Lower Limits on Lead in Dust on Floors, Windowsills
A new rule proposed by EPA would change the federal lead-in-dust limits for floors and windowsills from 40 µg/ft2 and 250 µg/ft2 to 10 µg/ft2 and 100 µg/ft2, the agency announced in a press release. The new limits would apply to houses built before 1978 and to buildings where children spend many hours, such as daycare centers and kindergarten facilities.  “Lead-contaminated dust from chipped and peeling lead-based paint is one of the most common causes of elevated blood lead levels in children,” said then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  The current limits on lead in dust on floors and windowsills have been in place since 2001. At that time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified a blood-lead level in children of 10 µg/dL as a “level of concern.” CDC’s current guidance calls for public health measures to be initiated at a blood-lead level in children of 5 µg/dL. EPA cited this change in CDC’s guidance as a factor in its decision to issue tighter standards. Another factor was a December 2017 order by a federal appeals court that required EPA to issue new lead standards within 90 days, a deadline that was later extended. At the time of the court’s ruling, the agency had been working on the standards for about six years and had recently announced it would need six more years to complete them, according to NPR. A PDF of the proposed rule is available on the agency’s website. EPA is accepting comments on the rule until August 16.